MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, hosted the Joint Humanitarian Operations Course (JHOC) held by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) at Naval Station Bahrain March 7-8.
Participants in the course multi-national service members with closing comments given by Rear Adm. Paul Schlise, deputy commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, and Brigadier General Francis Donovan, commander, Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade.
Schlise emphasized building continued working relations between all partner nations, with Donovan emphasizing that the military is not the only response entity in the area.
"I've been through this course I think three times in my career and this is the first time I've seen the international partnership here and that's fantastic," said Donovan. "At the end of the day, in any kind of situation like this, it's not the U.S. military that's going to really be solving these problems. It's going to be our partners."
The course was held in a classroom environment over two days which includes interactive presentations, case-study methodology and group exercises where students discuss how they would handle a certain disaster situation and who they would contact for different aspects of the situation.
"This was an opportunity to bring together a number of different partner militaries," said Albert Gembara, the humanitarian assistance advisor for U.S. Naval Forces Central Command. "To look at how the humanitarian assistance disaster relief operations work, how the international humanitarian architecture is designed and how to work with civilian organizations, civilian entities, in this space to support those kinds of operations."
Gembara added that the course was a good chance for the different nations to have a dialogue on some of the unique challenges that each nation faces as well as the different abilities that each one brings.
In 2004, USAID/OFDA created the JHOC to establish a formal learning environment for select U.S. military leaders and planners to discuss how the Department of Defense, Department of State and USAID work collaboratively during humanitarian assistance/disaster response operations.
The course highlights how humanitarian agencies relate to the U.S. military's mission and its role and responsibilities when supporting foreign humanitarian assistance/ disaster relief operations, specifically as provided for under Department of Defense Directive 5100.46.
U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.
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